Ever seen a bicycle stuck in a traffic jam?
Some people prefer to use the on-road bike lanes that you find on most of Canberra’s busiest roads, while others prefer to spend a few minutes more away from the noise and stress of traffic, enjoying Canberra’s network of off-road shared bike/walking paths.
Benefits of Cycle Commuting
There is a measurable link between a person’s health and lifestyle, and how productive they are at work. Employees with a poor health status are: nine times more likely than their healthy colleagues to have sick days; have dramatically decreased productivity; and are more likely to suffer from lifestyle-related disorders.
Did you know Australian employees:
- Don’t exercise enough with over 60% highly inactive.
- Have poor diets with greater than 46% consuming high fat intakes during work hours.
- Are overweight with 28% clinically obese and 34% overweight. Obesity costs Australia $21 billion annually and over 7 million Australians are estimated to become obese by 2025.
- Are highly stressed with 53% over-whelmed with stress and pressure. Stress related claims cost Australian business over $200 million annually.
- Are likely to have ‘presenteeism’ whereby employees attend work despite being too sick, tired or stressed to be productive.
Cycle commuting is one of the easiest ways to increase the physical activity of a workforce without dramatically adding to an already time-pressured day. Cycling is a low-impact form of physical activity and is a suitable form of exercise for almost anyone of any level of fitness. Commuting just 30 minutes a day on the bike can:
- Provide all the exercise you need to halve the chance of becoming obese or diabetic.
- Control stress, anxiety and depression by increasing natural endorphins.
- Help prevent heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.
- Help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
Further benefits to the workforce are:
- Decreased traffic congestion around the workplace. Fostering cycling in the workplace is a way of promoting your organization as an employee-friendly workplace that takes the environment seriously. Cycling just 10km each way to work instead of driving saves 1.3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year (Bicycle Network Australia).
- Decreased need for parking spaces as 10 bicycles can be parked in one car space. This can save up to $14500 which is the average cost of building one car space in a multi-level complex.
- Reduce car fleet, taxi and petrol costs to the workplace.
Cycle Works is a new program run by Pedal Power that aims to get more Canberrans riding a bike to work.
114,000 people regularly ride a bike in the ACT. Yet only 3% of those people use their bike for transport.
Cycle Works is a month-long challenge run in March each year. The challenge aims to increase the number of people who ride to work in the ACT, and raise awareness of how healthy and active living can be incorporated into a busy lifestyle.
Joining a Cycle Works challenge is as simple as riding your bike. Current and prospective bike-riding commuters can visit the Cycle Works website and register to participate.
Riders who sign up for Cycle Works will set goals and accumulate kilometres as individuals and teams, to win challenges, prizes and – most importantly – bragging rights.
The ACT Government Active Travel website has further resources to help you plan your commute to work.